Chicago Cubs utility player Logan Watkins may miss the 2015 season after he suffered a torn Achilles tendon while working out in Arizona:
It’s gotta be crushing for Watkins, who, according to previous tweets, had only just arrived in Mesa the day before. It makes you feel a little sick for the guy.
The implications here fall into three rough categories:
At a human level, you feel terrible for Watkins, 25, who’d gotten a taste of big league action the last two years after working his way up the ladder. Injuries happen, and everyone knows the risks associated with the sport, but I really feel for the guy. It sounds like the recovery time on an Achilles tear can but upwards of six months, and, if true, that means there’s an outside shot he’ll have a chance to play a little at the end of the year.
At the player level, the injury is particularly ill-timed for Watkins, who was outrighted off of the 40-man roster earlier this offseason. That means he was set to be a regular at AAA Iowa in the hopes of earning another call-up should the opportunity arise. If he’s not called up and kept on the 40-man roster before the end of the season, Watkins will become a minor league free agent. Absent the injury, and with a strong 2015 season, you’ve got to think a guy with his diverse skillset and on-base ability would have been a sought-after minor league free agent. Now, it’s a little murkier. If he’s able to work his way back at the very end of the year and at least show he’s healthy, then maybe he can prop back up that level of interest – or maybe even work his way back onto the 40-man roster by September. I’d call that unlikely, but we’re so early in this process that I wouldn’t rule it out. Hopefully, he recovers swiftly and well, and this discussion becomes a little more interesting come August.
At the team level, the Cubs are particularly well-equipped to weather this injury. Although Watkins is a great player to have in the organization, especially at the AAA level, he was outrighted from the 40-man roster in part because the Cubs have so much infield/utility depth already. Setting aside the Castro/Baez/Alcantara/La Stella/Olt/Bryant/Russell crew, the Cubs also will have guys like Chris Valaika and Jonathan Herrera at Iowa who can come up if there’s a rash of injuries at the big league level. I’m not going to spin losing Watkins as a no-impact event, but it is unlikely to have a deleterious effect on the 2015 Chicago Cubs’ performance, regardless of how the roster, and injury situation elsewhere, shakes out.